15 Best Apps You Can Download to Make a Difference

Good Apps That Make a Difference: Olio App Screenshots

Doing good is quite literally at our fingertips.

Here at Good Good Good, we know that sometimes the littlest efforts add up to effect big change. These iPhone, Android, browser, and desktop apps offer simple, quick, and convenient ways to help people, causes, and society in your everyday life.

Use these apps to make goodness a little more accessible for you, for others, and for the planet.

Learn more about these creative and impactful apps and get started downloading your favorites today.

The best applications you can download for environmental and social good:

1. Be My Eyes

Screenshot from App Store - showing images of the Be My Eyes interface, with text saying: Lend your eye to the blind and visually impaired. I'd like to volunteer. I need visual assistance. Help blind people with everyday tasks Assist the blind through live video call. Join the community and help it grow.

Be My Eyes is a free app that connects people who are blind or experience low-vision with sighted volunteers for visual assistance through a live video call.

Sighted volunteers lend their eyes to solve tasks big and small — such as checking expiry dates, distinguishing colors, reading instructions, or even navigating new surroundings — to help blind and low-vision people lead more independent lives.

The app is available in more than 150 countries and more than 180 languages.

Download Be My Eyes on the App Store or Google Play

2. Too Good To Go

Woman who works in a shop hands a Too Good To Go bag to a customer

Each year, a third of all food produced in the world goes to waste. Food waste, when it ends up in a landfill, rots and produces methane, which is even more potent than carbon dioxide. Food waste is responsible for 8% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Too Good To Go is on a mission to change this. Grocery stores, restaurants, bakeries, and cafes can let the app know when they're going to have leftover food. And hungry users can use the app to schedule pickups of a "Surprise Bag" of food at a significantly discounted price.

The grocery store, restaurant, bakery, or cafe will pack up a delicious meal of the fresh food they have left, and together the eater and business will have prevented that food from going to waste.

It's a great way to save money on eating out, support local, and save the planet.

Too Good To Go isn't available in every city right now, but they're committed to growing. The app is currently available in the U.S. in Portland, Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and New York City. Too Good To Go is also available in 15 international markets including France, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands

We reviewed Too Good To Go and walked through how to sustainably score great meals at a great price.

Download Too Good To Go on the App Store or Google Play

3. Tab for a Cause

Tab for a Cause Logo Illustration

If you've ever wanted to donate to nonprofits without spending a dime of your own money, this app is for you.

Tab for a Cause is a free browser extension that allows you to raise money for charity every time you open a new browser tab. The app will transform your "new tab" page to include beautiful photos, a notes app, a to-do list — and — will display three (fairly non-obstructive) banner ads. Every time a banner ad is displayed, Tab for a Cause collects money from the advertiser, and the money goes to charity.

You can choose from a diverse range of dozen nonprofits to donate your funds to, including The Bail Project, Action Against Hunger, Save the Children, Water.org, and Human Rights Watch.

Users have already raised more than $1.3 million for charity. (Learn more about why Tab for a Cause is legit)

Install Tab for a Cause for Google Chrome, Safari, or Microsoft Edge in two clicks

4. Pretzly

Pretzly: "Old ways don't open new doors," — Future You

Pretzly is a new, 1-on-1 audio meetup app. Inspired by recent events, including the Black Lives Matter movement and the Stop Asian Hate movement, its mission is to create a kinder, more united world through the joy of friendship and the tiny habit of connecting with those outside your everyday circle. With 1 daily curated intro and an on-the-go meetup format, Pretzly is designed as the easiest way to meet new people outside of a romantic or professional context.

Start your new routine to break routine and trade curiosity for possibility — in friendship, opportunity, and togetherness in the world.

Download Pretzly on the App Store


OLIO - Your neighbourhood - Free  Made - Food Non-food - App

More than one-third of food is thrown away. And in developed countries, more than half of food waste occurs in the home. You have the power to change that.

OLIO is a free app that connects neighbors with each other and with local shops so surplus food and other items can be shared, not thrown away. To add a listing, simply snap a photo and upload a description and pick-up details. Getting food through the app is free.

Download OLIO on the App Store or Google Play

6. GiveTide

GiveTide is a free mobile fundraising app for donors and nonprofits. Users can connect their daily debit or credit card and opt-in to round up their spare change and donate that money to any charity in the U.S.

For example, if a movie costs you $11.89, the app would take the 11 cents to round it up to $12, and you give the 11 cents to a cause you care about. You can team up with friends and family to multiply your donations and share your fundraising goals through email, text, and social media.

Download GiveTide on the App Store

7. Aloe Bud

Aloe Bud - Hydrate - Similar to flowers and plants, water helps us grow. Have you watered yourself today?

Aloe Bud is the all-in-one “self-care pocket companion” app. It gently brings awareness to self-care activities, using encouraging push notifications, rather than guilt or shame.

The app provides daily check-ins and reflections — from staying hydrated to maintaining connections to reflecting on interactions to taking screen breaks. It's beloved by the ADHD community.

The free mental health app brings awareness to physical, mental, and emotional needs throughout the day using unobtrusive push notifications.

Download Aloe Bud on the App Store

8. ACLU Mobile Justice

Know your rights - ACLUE Mobile Justice app

The ACLU Mobile Justice app is the activism app that allows users to record and report interactions with law enforcement and provides tips and guidelines for interacting with officers.

Footage and reports submitted through the app are automatically sent to the user’s local ACLU affiliate, where it is reviewed.

Users also have the option to broadcast their location when they begin to record, alerting nearby app users that a police encounter is being recorded nearby. The app is currently available for 18 U.S. states.

Download ACLU Mobile Justice on the App Store

9. Think Dirty

Think Dirty. Scan products. Learn ingredients and spot dirty ingredients. Shop cleaner options.

Think Dirty is a product-comparison app for personal care, skincare, and household products. After a quick barcode scan or search, the app shows you how the products rank on three potential health impacts: carcinogenicity, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and allergenicity and immunotoxicity. If a product is “dirty,” the app recommends a similar, safer “clean” product.

Download Think Dirty on the App Store or Google Play

10. Charity Miles

Charity Miles - Active-ist
Photo courtesy of Charity Miles

Charity Miles allows users to walk, bike, or run for a cause. Users simply download the free app, pick a charity, and get moving. There are more than 40 charities available, so you can pick one you feel most passionate about.

For every mile you move, you help earn money for the charity from the app’s corporate sponsorship pool, or you could be sponsored by friends and family.

Download Charity Miles on the App Store or Google Play

11. Good On You

Wear the change you want to see - Good On You

Good On You is a free app providing trusted ethical ratings on clothing brands so users can shop with a conscience.

You can find out how your favorite brands are rated on how they treat people, the planet, and animals. Then discover new ethical brands that do better, and make a difference when you shop — by reducing waste and pollution, empowering garment workers, and protecting animals.

Download Good On You on the App Store or Google Play

12. Libby

Libby - Free books library app

Libby allows users to borrow ebooks and audiobooks from their local library for free. You can sign in using your library card and download for offline reading (or stream to save space). And if you prefer reading on your Kindle, Libby can send your library books there, too.

Downloading books through Libby allows you to learn on the go, reduce waste, support your local library, avoid giving money to Amazon, and save your money.

You can also check out our other recommendations for Audible alternatives for audiobooks.

Download Good On You on the App Store or Google Play

13. Samaritan

A new app exists to help Seattle city-goers give directly to people in need. The app, called Samaritan, works by giving app users a look into the story of a person without a home.

App users receive a notification when passing an unsheltered person who carries a small Bluetooth beacon. The notification allows the user to learn about the person and then give to the person’s unmet needs cashlessly and directly.

Recipients can redeem a person’s giving at the app’s partner merchants and nonprofits to receive goods such as clothing, fresh produce, or a haircut.

To keep the beacon active, holders meet with a counselor to gauge progress and set goals. They can even develop spending plans and access new opportunities including job training, addiction recovery, and employment.

The app allows users to connect effectively and compassionately with the people we pass daily. With the combination of financial resources and relational support, incredible shifts can happen to people who live without homes.

Download Samaritan on the App Store or Google Play

14. Squirrel News

If you're passionate about making a difference, you probably also love reading about and celebrating other people making a difference. Squirrel News is here to help! Their app offers a curated collection of constructive news stories so you never have to doomscroll through news again.

Squirrel News keeps things simple by exploring the best good news websites from around the internet, and picking out the most helpful and hopeful articles for you to read.

We also tested out every single good news app, and offered our recommended favorites.

Download Squirrel News on the App Store, Google Play, or the web version

15. Ecosia

Screenshot of Ecosia search engine

Ecosia is a search engine that plants trees very time you search the internet. Similar to Tab for a Cause, this app takes something you already do and uses it for good.

Though it's still not as big as Google — it's making gains and making a difference.

You can read our article about how Ecosia plants trees, why they're legit, and more.

Download Ecosia on the App Store or Google Play — and install it on your web browser

Apps That Do Good
Illustration by Carra Sykes for the Goodnewspaper

Have more recommendations for apps that can help people change the world?

In addition to the apps included here, we want to continue to grow this list. Tweet us at @goodgoodgood or email us at hello@goodgoodgood.co.

All of the recommendations in this story are independently selected by the Good Good Good team. Some of the links may be affiliate links — which means that when you click them, we may earn a commission — which supports our ability to continue sharing good news. Thank you!

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August 10, 2021 5:00 PM
August 15, 2022
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